The Sorbonne in Paris

September 24th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Paris, Universities, Colleges, Academies

© François Trazzi/cc-by-sa-3.0

© François Trazzi/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement), in Paris, which was the historical house of the former University of Paris. Today, it houses part or all of several higher education and research institutions such as Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris Descartes University, École pratique des hautes études, and Sorbonne University. Despite being a highly valued brand, the Sorbonne universities did not register their names as trademarks until the 1990s. Over the following years, they established partnerships, merging projects and associated institutions with the name Sorbonne, sometimes triggering conflicts over the usage and ownership of the name.   read more…

Belleville in Paris

June 18th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Paris

Street art by Ben Vautier in Belleville © Cadaverexquisito/cc-by-sa-3.0

Street art by Ben Vautier in Belleville © Cadaverexquisito/cc-by-sa-3.0

Belleville is a neighbourhood of Paris, parts of which lie in four different arrondissements. The major portion of Belleville straddles the borderline between the 20th arrondissement and the 19th along its main street, the Rue de Belleville. The remainder lies in the 10th and 11th arrondissements. It was once the independent commune (municipality) of Belleville which was annexed by the City of Paris in 1860 and divided between two arrondissements Geographically, the neighborhood is situated on and around a hill which vies with Montmartre as the highest in Paris. The name Belleville literally means “beautiful town”.   read more…

Les Invalides in Paris

March 14th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris

Hôtel des Invalides, as seen from the Tour Montparnasse © Jens Peter Clausen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hôtel des Invalides, as seen from the Tour Montparnasse © Jens Peter Clausen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Les Invalides, commonly known as Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), or also as Hôtel des Invalides, is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church with the tombs of some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte.   read more…

The Élysée Palace in Paris

January 1st, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris

© Remi Mathis(cc-by-sa-3.0

© Remi Mathis(cc-by-sa-3.0

The Élysée Palace has been the official residence of the President of France since 1848. Dating to the early 18th century, it contains the office of the President and the meeting place of the Council of Ministers. It is located near the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the name Élysée deriving from Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. Important foreign visitors are hosted at the nearby Hôtel de Marigny, a palatial residence. The architect Armand-Claude Molet possessed a property fronting on the road to the village of Roule, west of Paris (now the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré), and backing onto royal property, the Grand Cours through the Champs-Élysées. He sold this in 1718 to Louis Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Count of Évreux (families: Dukes and Princes of Bouillon and Sedan: La Marck), with the agreement that Mollet would construct an hôtel particulier for the count, fronted by an entrance court and backed by a garden. The Hôtel d’Évreux was finished and decorated by 1722, and though it has undergone many modifications since, it remains a fine example of the French classical style. At the time of his death in 1753, Évreux was the owner of one of the most widely admired houses in Paris, and it was bought by King Louis XV as a residence for the Marquise de Pompadour, his mistress. In 1873, during the Third Republic, The Élysée became the official presidential residence.   read more…

The Orient Express

December 20th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels, Paris

Orient Express Restaurant car © Epistola8/cc-by-sa-4.0

Orient Express Restaurant car © Epistola8/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL). The route and rolling stock of the Orient Express changed many times. Several routes in the past concurrently used the Orient Express name, or slight variations. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name became synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul), the original endpoints of the timetabled service. The Orient Express was a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when travelling was still rough and dangerous.   read more…

Palais Garnier in Paris

December 1st, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, Paris

Palais Garnier © flickr.com - Peter Rivera/cc-by-2.0

Palais Garnier © flickr.com – Peter Rivera/cc-by-2.0

The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was called the Salle des Capucines, because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier, in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier. The theatre is also often referred to as the Opéra Garnier and historically was known as the Opéra de Paris or simply the Opéra, as it was the primary home of the Paris Opera and its associated Paris Opera Ballet until 1989, when the Opéra Bastille opened at the Place de la Bastille. The Paris Opera now mainly uses the Palais Garnier for ballet. The Palais Garnier has been called “probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, or the Sacré Coeur Basilica.” This is at least partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux‘s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially, the novel’s subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s popular 1986 musical. Another contributing factor is that among the buildings constructed in Paris during the Second Empire, besides being the most expensive, it has been described as the only one that is “unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank.” This opinion is far from unanimous however: the 20th-century French architect Le Corbusier once described it as “a lying art” and contended that the “Garnier movement is a décor of the grave”. The Palais Garnier also houses the Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra de Paris (Paris Opera Library-Museum), although the Library-Museum is no longer managed by the Opera and is part of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the museum is included in unaccompanied tours of the Palais Garnier.   read more…

Boulevard Haussmann in Paris

October 6th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Paris

Boulevard_Haussmann - Street sign © flickr.com - Sergio Calleja/cc-by-sa-2.0

Boulevard Haussmann – Street sign © flickr.com – Sergio Calleja/cc-by-sa-2.0

Boulevard Haussmann, 2.53 kilometres (1.57 mi) long between the crossings of Boulevard des Italiens / Boulevard Montmartre and Rue de Monceau / Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré from the 8th to the 9th arrondissement, is one of the wide tree-lined boulevards created in Paris by Napoleon III, under the direction of his Prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann. The Boulevard Haussmann is mostly lined with apartment blocks, whose regulated cornice height gives a pleasing eyeline to the Boulevard. The department stores Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps are sited on this street.   read more…

Hotel Piscine Molitor in Paris

December 19th, 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels, Paris

Piscine Molitor in 2015 © flickr.com - BikerNormand/cc-by-sa-2.0

Piscine Molitor in 2015 © flickr.com – BikerNormand/cc-by-sa-2.0

Piscine Molitor (Grands établissements balnéaires d’Auteuil) is a swimming pool and hotel complex located in Porte Molitor, 16th arrondissement of Paris. It is next to the park Bois de Boulogne, and between Stade Roland Garros and Parc des Princes. The complex was built in 1929 and inaugurated by Olympic swimmers Aileen Riggin, Matthew Gauntlett and Johnny Weissmuller. The pool is known for its Art Deco designs. The pool was classified as a French monument historique on 27 March 1990, after having fallen into disuse and closing in 1989. The swimming pool complex was rebuilt from scratch in the style of the previous design. The new complex includes two pools and a four star hotel. It opened in May 2014.   read more…

Latin Quarter of Paris

October 28th, 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Paris

Crossing of Rue Mouffetard and Rue de l'Arbalète © LPLT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Crossing of Rue Mouffetard and Rue de l’Arbalète © LPLT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Latin Quarter of Paris (French: Quartier latin) is an area in the 5th and the 6th arrondissements of Paris. It is situated on the left bank of the Seine, around the Sorbonne. The area gets its name from the Latin language, which was once widely spoken in and around the University since Latin was the language of learning in the Middle Ages in Europe.   read more…

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